Iranian Commerce Minister Masoud Mirkazemi has rejected recent reports that the country has imported wheat from the United States.
Poor Harvest Spurs Tehran's Rare Move; Limited Options
By TOM POLANSEK and LOUISE RADNOFSKY, Wall Street JournalIran this summer resumed buying U.S. wheat after a 27-year hiatus, a sign of the limited options for importers seeking large quantities of high-quality grain.
August 21, 2008; Page A3
Since the 2008-09 marketing year began on June 1, Iran has bought more than one million tons of hard red winter wheat directly from the U.S., which is "a very large amount," said Bill Nelson, analyst for Wachovia Securities. The purchases mean at least 3% to 4% of domestic wheat exports for the marketing year will go to a country the U.S. hasn't done business with for more than a generation. Government sanctions don't prohibit U.S. agricultural exporters from doing business with Iran. (read more)
Western media reported Wednesday that Iran ordered over one million tons of wheat with an estimated value of $350 million over a several-week period.
"We purchase wheat from Canada and some European countries, but Iran has not had any direct wheat imports from the US," Mehr news agency quoted Mirkazemi as saying.
Wheat production in Iran's Khuzestan province (archive photo)
Iran has announced plans to import one million tons of wheat per month in September, October and November in order to compensate for a drop in the country's grain production.
US traders say that much of the wheat Iran imports from the Black Sea region lack high 'feed' quality. They have also raised concerns about the quality of European wheat.
Mirkazemi rejected the reports, saying the imported wheat was of high quality.
A devastating drought in Iran this year has led to a 20 percent decrease in the country's wheat output compared with last year. Iranian wheat production is now at its lowest in six years.
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